Human Persons – A Process View

In Jörg Ulrich Noller (ed.), Was sind und wie existieren Personen? Münster, Germany: pp. 53-76 (forthcoming)

Anne Sophie Meincke (Spann)
University of Southampton
What are persons and how do they exist? The predominant answer to this question in Western metaphysics is that persons, human and others, are, and exist as, substances, i.e., ontologically independent, well-demarcated things defined by an immutable (usually mental) essence. Change, on this view, is not essential for a person's identity; it is in fact more likely to be detrimental to it. In this chapter I want to suggest an alternative view of human persons which is motivated by an appreciation of their biological nature. Organisms, human and non-human, are dynamical systems that for their existence and persistence depend on an ongoing interaction with the environment in which they are embedded. Taking seriously this most fundamental human condition leads to recognising human persons as processes, i.e., as entities for the identity of which change is essential. It also implies a holistic view of the human mind.
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The Disappearance of Change: Towards a Process Account of Persistence.Anne Sophie Meincke - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (1):12-30.
Autopoiesis, Biological Autonomy and the Process View of Life.Anne Sophie Meincke - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):5.

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